Self reliance is and has always been the beat of our heart. We don’t believe we need others, or God for that matter. Take these quotes for instance:
“It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.”
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
“Trust your instincts, and make judgements on what your heart tells you. The heart will not betray you.”
― David Gemmell, Fall of Kings
“Remember, this is important: Never trust that you will be saved by anyone.”
― Amanda Boyden, Pretty Little Dirty
But is this true? Should we rely on ourselves alone? Can we save ourselves, care for ourselves, and do all by ourselves without anyone else’s help?
I don’t think so. We were created to be dependent creatures. That doesn’t mean we are to depend on others for handouts, or to do all for us. Rather it means we were primarily created to be cared for and sustained by our Creator. By design, we are to rely on God.
How do you know you rely on God? There are several questions you can ask yourself. Let me offer three.
(1) Do you pray and read God’s Word?
Our God is not silent. His will is found in His word and through prayer. He doesn’t leave us to wonder. We know exactly what is good for us. What is right for us. What God expects of us. How we should live and act.
So do you search God’s Word for answers? Do you bow before the Lord in prayer? If you do these things on a regular basis, you know you rely on God.
(2) Do you hope in God?
There are several things we could hope in, one of which is ourselves. Those who do push everyone away, thinking they can do it all on their own; that they are their own savior.
A classic example of this are those who are too proud to ask for help when they are in financial trouble. It doesn’t matter what happens or how bad it gets, they aren’t willing to go to their family, friends, or church for help. They would rather loose everything and go without.
People can also hope in others. It’s not wrong to ask others, or the church for help. We should in times of need. The problem arises when we think others are our hope, our salvation. Israel had that problem. Instead of hoping in the Lord, they hoped in other nations. Time and time again you read of prophets calling them back to the Lord, but they didn’t listen.
Israel’s problem is still our problem. We hope in others to save us, but men can’t save us. The only person who can save us is God. We should put our hope in Him. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He will always deliver on His promises.
So who do you hope in? Yourself? Others? God? Your answer will determine who you rely on.
(3) Do you live according to God’s Will?
If you rely on the Lord, you won’t live according to your will, or societies will, but according to God’s Will. You will do this because you recognize God’s will isn’t a hindrance, but a grace. It’s a trustworthy gift given that causes us to flourish.
Questions for Reflection
- Who do you rely on?
- Do you see God, others, or yourself as your functional Savior?
- Do you live according to God’s will?
- Do you pray and read God’s Word often?
Post adapted from my sermon Rely on God